Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
In 1970 the Sultanate's economy, which was virtually a subsistence economy, was entirely based on agriculture and fisheries. It was not until the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in 1964 and its production in 1967 that the country was able to embark on its development. Even so, after the initial construction phase is completed, an oil industry is not labour intensive. Over half the total Omani population is still engaged in the agricultural and fisheries industry. 787,300 people hold cultivable land, according to the most recent survey, and the total number of agricultural workers is around 187,820. A large per centage of the Omani population live in rural villages. However, the stimulus to the national economy derived from the exploitation of oil and gas has also benefited the development and modernisation of agri culture, so that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries was enabled to achieve nearly 50% self-sufficiency in food production by the end of last year, with a goal of 100% by the year 2000.
The value of agricultural and fisheries production rose from RO 17 million in 1970 to RO 156 million by 1994. Agriculture and fisheries are Oman's main non-oil exports, representing 70% of the country's non-oil exports. Last year, agricultural production totalled around 802,000 tonnes, of which livestock was about 23,000 tonnes and fish production 114,300 tonnes. The Sultanate of Oman lies in an arid region of the world, but ow ing to its size and topography it has considerable variations of climate.